It all started with a list of 10 questions he would put up on the school notice board every day. When math teacher Devi Dyal had started a general knowledge test for the students of Government Senior Secondary School, Banera, Sangrur, in 2012, he had no idea it would one day become a state project.
A year later, his project ‘Udaan’ was adopted by then education secretary Kahan Singh Pannu, to be replicated across Punjab. The project continued for about a year, but was later suspended. It was introduced again in Punjab government schools in 2017 and on Tuesday, the first formal GK exam will be taken by 13.21 lakh students of classes VI to XII in government schools.
Though no marks will be added to the final exam results, they will be graded, the motive being to improve the students’ general knowledge, and prepare them for competitive exams, many of which have a GK section.
In 2012, Devi Dyal and two of his colleagues had started putting up 10 multiple choice questions (MCQs) on the school notice board every day. The idea was soon adopted by all government schools of Sangrur. These schools would later conduct a test twice a year, and cash prizes would be given to the winners.
The ‘Udaan’ project is now handled by the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT). The SCERT has divided students into three groups — one for classes VI-VIII, another for classes IX-X and the third for classes XI-XII. SCERT director Inderjit Singh said, “Sangrur teacher Devi Dyal had started this project in his school and later the Punjab government replicated it in the state. The state government is now independently handling this project. Daily, we put up five questions (MCQs) on the education portal. Questions are different for all groups. The test which is going to be held tomorrow will be based on the questions put up by us since April.”
The exam will be held from 1 pm to 2 pm Tuesday. The question paper will be sent to the education portal via the Udaan link, said a letter issued by the SCERT director to all schools. The paper will have a total of 50 questions, of which 40 will be from assignments sent since April to August this year, while the remaining 10 will be based on ‘Word of the day’. Five questions will be based on Punjabi words and another 5 on English words. So far, 69 assignments have been sent for this purpose to schools.
Another exam will be held in March as well.
“We planned the GK test to ensure that government school students do not lag behind in competitive exams. I am really happy that now the whole state is benefiting from this project,” said Devi Dyal, who has now also introduced a mathematics test for his students.
School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said, “It is great that a Sangrur teacher’s idea has been adopted by department. We focus on replicating the best ideas among schools of Punjab so that government students are no less than those studying in private schools. Now, we have also started honouring teachers who have given 100% results. The idea is to motivate them so that others too follow.”